I was delighted to win the 'Open' category of the 2014 M. Wynn Thomas Prize, for my essay 'In/Human Place: The Poetry of John Barnie', in Zoë Skoulding and Ian Davidson's 2013 volume Placing Poetry (published by Rodopi). The award was made at the annual conference of the Association for Welsh Writing in English at Gregynog.
The M. Wynn Thomas Prize is "offered to celebrate outstanding scholarly work in the field of Welsh writing in English" (to quote the prize's rubric), and is divided into two categories: 'Open' (for experienced scholars) and 'New Scholars' (for postgraduates and recent postdocs). Its name celebrates the leading figure in the field of Welsh writing in English scholarship.
Photos from the award event are by Aidan Byrne, whose fine album of the 2014 AWWE conference as a whole can be found here.
On Saturday 15th December, it was a pleasure to be present at The Institute in Llangammarch, in Breconshire, for the launch of a CD of Ruth Bidgood reading a selection of her poems. The CD is the work of Sarn Cambria, a collaboration between the photographer Liz Fleming-Williams and the sound recordist Simon Fraser (recipient of a 2012 BAFTA Cymru for his sound work on the film Patagonia). A beautifully produced piece of work, the CD can be bought online here.
Matthew Jarvis and Ruth Bidgood. Photograph by Liz Fleming-Williams.
The event itself saw a considerable turnout, with The Institute being pretty much full to bursting - testament to Ruth's ever-increasing popularity as a poet. Ruth herself read a few poems, and the audience was also treated to selections from the CD itself. Simon Fraser and Liz Fleming-Williams were both present at the event, too, with Ruth drawing particular attention to Simon's recent BAFTA Cymru success. Sarn Cambria have previously worked with Ruth's poetry in the DVD stillfilm Gwesyn.
Here is a fantastic opportunity to attend the launch of new books from two of Wales's most important poets, Gillian Clarke and Menna Elfyn. Get yourselves down to Lampeter on Tuesday 23rd October, to the very pleasant surroundings of the Founders Library on the University campus, for what is certain to be an extremely memorable evening.
Ruth Bidgood and Matthew Jarvis.
My UWP book, Ruth Bidgood, in the Writers of Wales series, was launched on Friday 27 July in Aberystwyth's Arts Centre Bookshop. Ruth herself was there, as she was launching her own new poetry collection, Above the Forests (Cinnamon), at the same event.
Having very recently celebrated her ninetieth birthday, Ruth was - entirely appropriately - the star of the show. Not just a launch, even a dual one, this was ultimately an event to celebrate Ruth's poetry and her ever-more-important place in the English-language poetic life of Wales. Suitably, the bookshop was packed, as a large crowd turned up to honour one of Wales's most distinguished poets. Ruth read from her new collection and I was interviewed about my critical study by the marvellous John Barnie. One thing that came out especially clearly from Ruth's reading was the wit of her work, with her reading drawing a number of laughs from the audience.
This was an evening of considerable warmth and clear affection for Ruth herself. It was a particular pleasure that members of her own family were able to attend. My thanks are due both to the Arts Centre Bookshop for their hospitality and to Jan Fortune-Wood of Cinnamon Press for organising the event.
(Photograph courtesy of Daniel Jarvis.)
Photo: Heike Roms
I was delighted to be in conversation with Jasmine Donahaye for the launch of her new UWP book Whose People?: Wales, Israel, Palestine at Gregynog Hall last Friday evening.
Jasmine is also the author of two collections of poetry: Misappropriations (2006) and Self-Portrait as Ruth (2009).
This January, exciting up-and-coming writer and editor Susie Wild will be giving a reading at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter. Following her reading, Susie will be in conversation with John Lavin of The Lampeter Review about her writing and her work as an editor with Parthian Books. Then there will be a chance for questions from the audience.
The event is open to all and entry is free. So please come along!
Venue: Roderic Bowen Library and Archives Reading Room, Lampeter Campus, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Date: Wednesday 25th January
Time: Starts 5.10pm
Jasmine Donahaye, one of Wales's most exciting young poets, will be reading at the University of Wales, Lampeter on Wednesday 17th March: 5.30pm in the Canterbury Building, Lecture Room 14. All welcome, admission free.
After her reading, Jasmine will be in conversation with me. Then there will be a chance for questions from the audience.